Researchers are studying whether a tool used for 3D facial imaging can help improve manage thyroid eye disease (TED).
TED is an inflammatory disease of the fat and muscle at the back of the eye, which can compress the optic nerve. It can also cause significant facial disfigurement due to swelling, pushing the eye forward in the socket.
Two researchers from London’s NIHR Biomedical Research Centre based at Moorfields Eye Hospital and UCL’s Institute of Ophthalmology will conduct three pilot studies to test a 3D imaging system, which has been used in breast reconstruction and reconstructive craniofacial surgery. It captures 3D images of patients and uses software to analyse changes in volume, contour and shape to simulate the change in appearance that could be achieved by having surgery.
Consultant ophthalmologist and lead researcher Daniel Ezra, said: “We expect our results to help quantify the 3D changes around the eye in thyroid eye disease. This could provide outcome measures which are better correlated with what the patients want; and that generate an index measure of ‘disfigurement’ to classify/characterise disease severity, predict and monitor disease course or analyse treatment outcomes.”
We expect our results to help quantify the 3D changes around the eye in thyroid eye disease
Current treatments for TED include orbital decompression surgery to increase the space around the eye by removing tissue or bone. However, the results of the surgery, in terms of reversing facial disfigurement, are hard to predict.
The research is being funded by a grant from Fight for Sight – the UK’s largest charity dedicated to eye research – and the British Thyroid Foundation.
Commenting on the grant, Dr. Dolores M Conroy, director of research at Fight for Sight, said, “We’re delighted to team up again with British Thyroid Foundation for the first study of this nature in TED. The research will address the clear, unmet need for a tool to take the management of TED from initial assessment through to reliable monitoring of the condition, peri-operative counselling and post-treatment assessment.”
Janis Hickey, director of the British Thyroid Foundation, added: “Seeking improvements for patients with TED is very important to us and joining forces with Fight for Sight has allowed this research to be funded. The study is innovative and deals with an issue that is often overlooked – that of psychological impact arising from facial disfigurement – an aspect that is very important for people with TED.”